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53% See Third-Party Candidate As Likely President in Next 10 to 12 Years

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Voters see little chance of a third-party candidate being elected president next year, but most think one has a shot at the White House a little further down the road.

Only 27% of Likely U.S. Voters believe 2012 is a good year for voters to consider electing a third-party candidate, given a choice between President Obama and one of the potential Republican candidates. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 46% don’t think next year’s a good time to consider a third-party candidate, but that’s down from 53% in early June. Twenty-six percent (26%) are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Just 25% of voters think it’s at least somewhat likely that a third-party presidential candidate could win in 2012, with six percent (6%) who say it’s Very Likely. Sixty-eight percent (68%) see the chance of a third-party winner as unlikely, including 31% who feel it’s Not At All Likely.

But 53% believe it’s at least somewhat likely that a third-party candidate could win the presidency in the next 10 to 12 years, although only 16% think it’s Very Likely. Thirty-eight percent (38%) say a third-party candidate is unlikely to gain the White House by then, but that includes just nine percent (9%) who say it’s Not At All Likely.

Fifty-eight percent (58%) of Republicans and even more voters not affiliated with either of the major parties (65%) think a third-party winner is possible in the next 10 to 12 years. A plurality (47%) of Democrats views that outcome as not very or not at all likely.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on September 8-9, 2011 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.


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